И заједничко ћутање пуно је узбудљивог разговора

Ciao everyone! What’s up? This is my Serbian essay. My friends seemed to like it, so I decided to post it here. You can read it both in Serbian and English (I didn’t want to publish only the English version, because it doesn’t sound the same when translated. It somehow loses the true value. I did my best and hope, among others, that foreign visitors will receive the real message (if there is one anyway :D) and realize the means of this essay). Share your impressions in the comments. 🙂 By the way, the topic of the essay is: “Shared silence is also full of exciting talk”.

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„Речи су врло често сувишне и превише опасне. Њима се грли, милује, вређа, удара. Ћутање, пак, ретко коме може наудити. Оно говори кад речи не могу. То је наш једини одговор у поједином тренутку. Покрет руку, мимика, осмех, загонетан поглед…

У животу постоје веома посебне особе са којима пролазимо кроз воду и ватру. Заједнички доживљаји нанизани као пера на концу пријатељства која красе сваки тренутак проведен крај ње.“

Многи кажу да је љубав нешто најлепше на свету. Чини да се осећамо узбуђено, и у исто време, преплашено. Једноставно нас чини бољим људима. Чудна је та љубав – свако је схвата другачије, на неки свој начин. Вероватно зато нема ниједне потпуно одговарајуће, праве дефиниције тог тајанственог појма који је стар колико и само човечанство. Уосталом, коме треба дефиниција…

Сваког дана једва чекам да видим тај предиван, искрен осмех, те тајанствене окице боје дивљег кестена, то прелепо бело лице и лепршаву бујну косу како пролазе поред мене, остављајући веома јак утисак и мирис шумских јагодица. Од накита носи једино очи. Њен стидљив осмех упућен мени довољан је. Ах, тако се лепо смеје, дан ми улепша! Једно њено „ћао“ скрива хиљаду емоција… Одаје је, жели нешто да ми каже. Можда она не мисли тако, али све је већ речено. Ни ја не могу све да држим у себи… Тог тренутка све наше бриге нестају, гледајући једно друго и благо се осмехујући. Тај неописиви моменат траје свега неколико секунди, а за мене, то је читава вечност. Та слика вредна је хиљаду речи. Ту слику треба проживети, искусити. Упустити се у неповратну дубину њеног нежног погледа и тамо остати заувек. Мислио сам да је пролећна трава зелена, а онда сам видео њене очи. Живот је леп!

 – Упс! Извините… – налетех на једног професора.

Док сам се прибрао и окренуо, није је више било. Однела ју је река људи, ужурбано пролазећи кроз тесан ходник. Штета, било је лепо док је трајало.

На следећем часу био сам неуобичајено одсутан, другачији. Сви су навикли да гледају марљивог Луку, увек расположеног за шалу. Руку на срце, и даље сам такав. Само ми је требало мало времена… да се вратим у реалност, да бар на тренутак побегнем од њених бисерних очију и јарко-црвених усана које се лагано осмехују. Надам се да ћу се повратити пре следећег сусрета. Ех, шта један наизглед обичан тренутак може да учини човеку!

 – Лука, је л’ све у реду, нешто си замишљен данас? – упита ме професорка.

 – Да, да, све је океј. Хвала.

Малопређашна ситуација на ходнику оставила је толико јак утисак на мене да читав дан ништа нисам могао да радим. Само сам седео и лутао својим разбацаним мислима… Било је девојака до сада, али ова је специјална.

.   .   .

Ма колико год се трудили, не можемо се ваљано испричати. Није све у речима. Зато је ту тај осмех који чини да на тренутак заборавимо на све и уживамо у животу. То све говори. Али ипак, делује тако нестварно…

„Питао сам професора шта је то љубав, рекао је да није учио тај предмет. Питао сам возача шта је то љубав, рекао је да не зна за тај пут. Питао сам лудака шта је то љубав, рекао је да је то разлог због којег је постао луд.“

 _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

 _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _  _

“Words are often redundant and too dangerous. They are hugs, caresses, insults, strikes. Silence, however, can rarely hurt anyone. It speaks when words can’t. That is our only answer in a particular moment. A single hand movement, facial expression, smile, mysterious glance…

There are very special people in life with whom we last through thick and thin. Shared experiences are strung like feathers along the string of friendship that adorn every moment spent by her side.”

Many people say love is the most beautiful thing in the world. When you look in her eyes and she’s looking back in yours… everything… feels… not quite normal. Because you feel stronger and weaker at the same time. You feel excited and at the same time, terrified. The truth is… you don’t know what you feel except you know what kind of man you want to be. It’s as if you’ve reached the unreachable and you’re not ready for it.

Every day I can’t wait to see that that wonderful, sincere smile, those mysterious eyes the colour of a chestnut, that beautiful white face and swaying luscious hair passing by me, leaving such a strong impression and the smell of forest strawberries. The only jewelry she wears are her eyes. Her shy smile addressed to me is enough. Oh, she has such a nice smile, my day embellished! One her “hi” hides a thousand emotions. It reveals her, she wants to tell me something. She might not think so, but it’s all been said. Neither can I keep everything to myself. At that moment, all our worries disappear, looking at each other and smiling mildly. That indescribable moment lasts only a few seconds, but feels like eternity. That picture is worth a thousand words! That picture should be lived, experienced. Engage in the irreversible depth of her gentle eyes and remain there eternally. I thought vernal grass was green until I saw her eyes. Life is beautiful!

 – Oops! I’m sorry… – I bumped into a professor.

When I pulled myself together and turned around, she was gone. A river of people took her downstream, hurriedly passing through the narrow corridor. Too bad, it was nice while it lasted.

At the next class, I was clearly away, different. Everyone is used to the industrious Luka, always in the joking mood. To be honest, I’m still like that. I just needed a little time… to get back to reality, to escape from her pearly eyes and bright-red lips slightly smiling. At least for a moment. I hope I’ll succeed before our next encounter. Oh, what a seemingly ordinary moment can do to a man!

 – Luka, is everything alright? You seem a bit conceived today… – a professor asked me.

 – Yes, yes, everything’s just fine. Thank you for the concern. – I replied.

The situation in the hallway earlier that day has left such a strong impression on me that I wasn’t able to do anything the whole day. I was just sitting and wandering through my scattered thoughts… There have been girls so far, but this one is special.

.   .   .

“A little voice of yours makes me feel alive,
A little hug of yours makes me feel happy,
A little care of yours makes me feel perfect,
A little love of yours makes me feel complete,
& a little ignorance of yours kills me inside.
I find my reason for living in those moments.
No matter how much it might hurt,
It will be totally worth it”

.   .   .

We cannot have a proper talk, no matter how hard we try. It’s not all in the words. Therefore is that smile that makes you forget about everything for a moment or two and enjoy life. That says it all. But still, it seems so unreal…

“I asked a professor what love is, he told me he hadn’t studied that subject. I asked a taxi driver what love is, he said he hadn’t heard of that street. I asked a madman what love is, he said that was the reason he became insane.”

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Bye! 😀

Luka R.

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The Hero Inside

 

Here I am, standing at the city center, beside the so-called “Horse monument”. Admiring the beautiful night sky portrait, full of tiny little stars desperately calling for help. But why help? Because they stand alone in the universe, probably without any population on them. Cut out, in the middle of nowhere and 5 million light years away from my curious eyes stands a star named Hope, smiling and talking to her friends, Desire, Will, Power and Love

[http://goo.gl/P7sJWk]

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Everything is so relative!

A friend texts me. He’s gonna be late for our appointment. “Great. Just more waiting”, I thought. Having in mind that only a couple of us showed up on time, I felt kinda incomplete. We all did. You know that feeling when you’ve got something in mind and you want everything to be just as you planned, but not all things depend on you… [Well, stop overthinking. You can’t control everything, just let it be.] I looked at all those people around me, every single one of them with a smile on their face. Happiness is there, you just have to look for it. Start the pursuit in yourself. It’s most likely you won’t have to search any further. Fortune is in the little things. 🙂

[http://goo.gl/A303zr]

When you find it and see that everything is much better than you thought, you suddenly realize that it’s only you and the starry night. Darkness. [http://goo.gl/GZOIKo] You’ve gone to far to go back to reality now. Luka, your dreamer side has won, again. The time stopped, you are levitating in space, enjoying these incredible moments in life that make what you’ve been through totally worth it. But you still remember that everything can change in slip of a second. Nevertheless, you’re making a summation of your life, everything that happened in it so far, deciding who you wanna be. Everything seems quite normal, because you feel stronger and weaker at the same time. You feel excited and at the same time terrified. The truth is you don’t know what you feel, except you know what kind of man you wanna be. It’s as if you’ve reached the unreachable and you’re not ready for it. [http://goo.gl/uyyGI]

Sweet dreams are made of tears.

This is the time when a man changes into a man he is gonna be the rest of his life. Just be careful who you change into.

[http://goo.gl/k8ZcF]

There is nothing you miss in life, not even a chance to correct some awful mistakes you regret for. Trust me, those mistakes take us down the road and makes us who we are. And if anyone is destined for greatness, it’s you. You owe the world your gifts, you just have to figure out how to use them. [Be careful, they’re like a poison. They can take us over. Before you know it, it can turn you into something ugly.] Wherever they take you, be ready for a battle, cuz it won’t be easy. There is no easy way out.

You know, when you were younger, your parents thought: “This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.” And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great to your parents just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege to them. Then the time came for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow. [I know things have been difficult lately, and I’m sorry about that.]

[http://goo.gl/6Kehk]

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and no matter how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently. If you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out there and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that! You’re not just any person picked from the streets, you are one of a kind. Show the world what you’ve got! Don’t whine “why me”. Say “try me”. Until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life. Strong focus on what you want.

[http://goo.gl/TBSPm]

Do you know what is the greatest gift anyone can receive in his lifetime? The greatest gift we can receive is to have the chance, just once in our lives, to make a difference. Do you understand how many times you made a difference? Enough for a hundred lifetimes. But not everyone is meant to make a difference.

[http://goo.gl/1QGKK]

Whatever life holds in store for you, never forget these words: “With great power comes great responsibility.” [Just because you can do something, doesn’t give you the right to.] This is your gift, your curse.

Every champion was once a contender that refused to give up. 

Courageous, self-sacrificing people. Setting examples for all of us. Everybody loves a hero. People line up for them, cheer them, scream their names. And years later, they’ll tell how they stood in the rain for hours just to get a glimpse of the one who taught them how to hold on a second longer. I believe there’s a hero in all of us, that keeps us honest, gives us strength, makes us noble, and finally allows us to die with pride, even though sometimes we have to be steady, and give up the thing we want the most. Even our dreams…

[http://goo.gl/ehguC]

Do you know what life is?  What it REALLY is?  It is the inevitability of hard times, which we survive only because of the moments of joy in between. This very moment is that joy. A beautiful moment a couple of days ago was that joy. Now comes the inevitable.  And we will deal with it, and get to the other side, where more moments of joy are waiting for us…

[http://goo.gl/b1dE5]

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Who am I? You sure you want to know? The story of my life is not for the faint of heart. If somebody said it was a happy little tale… if somebody told you I was just your average ordinary guy, not a care in the world… somebody lied.

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Wake up now, Luka. That was enough. 😀

“Luka, why are you so silent all the time? That’s completely unlike you.”, a friend asked me. “Well, I don’t know. I was wandering deep in my thoughts”, I replied. [When I’m silent, I have a thunder hidden inside. http://goo.gl/KTM4XG When words mean nothing I go la la la xD] “Look, there they are!”, he noticed. “Yeah, they’re finally here”, I confirmed his statement. “I feel like a whole year has passed.” “Whoah, bro, it was only 10 minutes. Chill out a lil’!”, he told me. “Wow, that was pretty fast…”, I thought. “Let the evening begin.” [I’ve got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good night :D]

[http://goo.gl/dDZM8M]

                                                                                                                        Written by:

Luka Radičević

The Case of Lady Sannox by Arthur Conan Doyle

The relations between Douglas Stone and the notorious Lady Sannox were very well known both among the fashionable circles of which she was a brilliant member, and the scientific bodies which numbered him among their most illustrious confreres. There was naturally, therefore, a very widespread interest when it was announced one morning that the lady had absolutely and for ever taken the veil, and that the world would see her no more. When, at the very tail of this rumour, there came the assurance that the celebrated operating surgeon, the man of steel nerves, had been found in the morning by his valet, seated on one side of his bed, smiling pleasantly upon the universe, with both legs jammed into one side of his breeches and his great brain about as valuable as a cap full of porridge, the matter was strong enough to give quite a little thrill of interest to folk who had never hoped that their jaded nerves were capable of such a sensation.

Douglas Stone in his prime was one of the most remarkable men in England. Indeed, he could hardly be said to have ever reached his prime, for he was but nine-and-thirty at the time of this little incident. Those who knew him best were aware that famous as he was as a surgeon, he might have succeeded with even greater rapidity in any of a dozen lines of life. He could have cut his way to fame as a soldier, struggled to it as an explorer, bullied for it in the courts, or built it out of stone and iron as an engineer. He was born to be great, for he could plan what another man dare not do, and he could do what another man dare not plan. In surgery none could follow him. His nerve, his judgement, his intuition, were things apart. Again and again his knife cut away death, but grazed the very springs of life in doing it, until his assistants were as white as the patient. His energy, his audacity, his full-blooded self-confidence – does not the memory of them still linger to the south of Marylebone Road and the north of Oxford Street?

His vices were as magnificent as his virtues, and infinitely more picturesque. Large as was his income, and it was the third largest of all professional men in London, it was far beneath the luxury of his living. Deep in his complex nature lay a rich vein of sensualism, at the sport of which he placed all the prizes of his life. The eye, the ear, the touch, the palate, all were his masters. The bouquet of old vintages, the scent of rare exotics, the curves and tints of the daintiest potteries of Europe, it was to these that the quick-running stream of gold was transformed. And then there came his sudden mad passion for Lady Sannox, when a single interview with two challenging glances and a whispered word set him ablaze. She was the loveliest woman in London and the only one to him. He was one of the handsomest men in London, but not the only one to her. She had a liking for new experiences, and was gracious to most men who wooed her. It may have been cause or it may have been effect that Lord Sannox looked fifty, though he was but six-and-thirty.

He was a quiet, silent, neutral-tinted man, this lord, with thin lips and heavy eyelids, much given to gardening, and full of home-like habits. He had at one time been fond of acting, had even rented a theatre in London, and on its boards had first seen Miss Marion Dawson, to whom he had offered his hand, his title, and the third of a county. Since his marriage his early hobby had become distasteful to him. Even in private theatricals it was no longer possible to persuade him to exercise the talent which he had often showed that he possessed. He was happier with a spud and a watering-can among his orchids and chrysanthemums.

It was quite an interesting problem whether he was absolutely devoid of sense, or miserably wanting in spirit. Did he know his lady’s ways and condone them, or was he a mere blind, doting fool? It was a point to be discussed over the teacups in snug little drawing-rooms, or with the aid of a cigar in the bow windows of clubs. Bitter and plain were the comments among men upon his conduct. There was but one who had a good word to say for him, and he was the most silent member in the smoking-room. He had seen him break in a horse at the University, and it seemed to have left an impression upon his mind.

But when Douglas Stone became the favourite all doubts as to Lord Sannox’s knowledge or ignorance were set for ever at rest. There was no subterfuge about Stone. In his high-handed, impetuous fashion, he set all caution and discretion at defiance. The scandal became notorious. A learned body intimated that his name had been struck from the list of its vice-presidents. Two friends implored him to consider his professional credit. He cursed them all three, and spent forty guineas on a bangle to take with him to the lady. He was at her house every evening, and she drove in his carriage in the afternoons. There was not an attempt on either side to conceal their relations; but there came at last a little incident to interrupt them.

It was a dismal winter’s night, very cold and gusty, with the wind whooping in the chimneys and blustering against the window-panes. A thin spatter of rain tinkled on the glass with each fresh sough of the gale, drowning for the instant the dull gurgle and drip from the eaves. Douglas Stone had finished his dinner, and sat by his fire in the study, a glass of rich port upon the malachite table at his elbow. As he raised it to his lips, he held it up against the lamplight, and watched with the eye of a connoisseur the tiny scales of beeswing which floated in its rich ruby depths. The fire, as it spurted up, threw fitful lights upon his bald, clear-cut face, with its widely-opened grey eyes, its thick and yet firm lips, and the deep, square jaw, which had something Roman in its strength and its animalism. He smiled from time to time as he nestled back in his luxurious chair. Indeed, he had a right to feel well pleased, for, against the advice of six colleagues, he had performed an operation that day of which only two cases were on record, and the result had been brilliant beyond all expectation. No other man in London would have had the daring to plan, or the skill to execute, such a heroic measure.

But he had promised Lady Sannox to see her that evening and it was already half-past eight. His hand was outstretched to the bell to order the carriage when he heard the dull thud of the knocker. An instant later there was the shuffling of feet in the hall, and the sharp closing of a door.

“A patient to see you, sir, in the consulting room,” said the butler.

“About himself?”

“No, sir; I think he wants you to go out.”

“It is too late,” cried Douglas Stone peevishly. “I won’t go.”

“This is his card, sir.”

The butler presented it upon the gold salver which had been given to his master by the wife of a Prime Minister.

“‘Hamil Ali, Smyrna.’ Hum! The fellow is a Turk, I suppose.”

“Yes, sir. He seems as if he came from abroad, sir. And he’s in a terrible way.”

“Tut, tut! I have an engagement. I must go somewhere else. But I’ll see him. Show him in here, Pim.”

A few moments later the butler swung open the door and ushered in a small and decrepit man, who walked with a bent back and with the forward push of the face and blink of the eyes which goes with extreme short sight. His face was swarthy, and his hair and beard of the deepest black. In one hand he held a turban of white muslin striped with red, in the other a small chamois-leather bag.

“Good evening,” said Douglas Stone, when the butler had closed the door. “You speak English, I presume?”

“Yes, sir. I am from Asia Minor, but I speak English when I speak slow.”

“You wanted me to go out, I understand?”

“Yes, sir. I wanted very much that you should see my wife.”

“I could come in the morning, but I have an engagement which prevents me from seeing your wife tonight.”

The Turk’s answer was a singular one. He pulled the string which closed the mouth of the chamois-leather bag, and poured a flood of gold on to the table.

“There are one hundred pounds there,” said he, “and I promise you that it will not take you an hour. I have a cab ready at the door.”

Douglas Stone glanced at his watch. An hour would not make it too late to visit Lady Sannox. He had been there later. And the fee was an extraordinarily high one. He had been pressed by his creditors lately, and he could not afford to let such a chance pass. He would go.

“What is the case?” he asked.

“Oh, it is so sad a one! So sad a one! You have not, perhaps heard of the daggers of the Almohades?”

“Never.”

“Ah, they are Eastern daggers of a great age and of a singular shape, with the hilt like what you call a stirrup. I am a curiosity dealer, you understand, and that is why I have come to England from Smyrna, but next week I go back once more. Many things I brought with me, and I have a few things left, but among them, to my sorrow, is one of these daggers.”

“You will remember that I have an appointment, sir,” said the surgeon, with some irritation; “pray confine yourself to the necessary details.”

“You will see that it is necessary. Today my wife fell down in a faint in the room in which I keep my wares, and she cut her lower lip upon this cursed dagger of Almohades.”

“I see,” said Douglas Stone, rising. “And you wish me to dress the wound?”

“No, no, it is worse than that.”

“What then?”

“These daggers are poisoned.”

“Poisoned!”

“Yes, and there is no man, East or West, who can tell now what is the poison or what the cure. But all that is known I know, for my father was in this trade before me, and we have had much to do with these poisoned weapons.”

“What are the symptoms?”

“Deep sleep, and death in thirty hours.”

“And you say there is no cure. Why then should you pay me this considerable fee?”

“No drug can cure, but the knife may.”

“And how?”

“The poison is slow of absorption. It remains for hours in the wound.”

“Washing, then, might cleanse it?”

“No more than in a snake bite. It is too subtle and too deadly.”

“Excision of the wound, then?”

“That is it. If it be on the finger, take the finger off. So said my father always. But think of where this wound is, and that it is my wife. It is dreadful!”

But familiarity with such grim matters may take the finer edge from a man’s sympathy. To Douglas Stone this was already an interesting case, and he brushed aside as irrelevant the feeble objections of the husband.

“It appears to be that or nothing,” said he brusquely. “It is better to loose a lip than a life.”

“Ah, yes, I know that you are right. Well, well, it is kismet, and it must be faced. I have the cab, and you will come with me and do this thing.”

Douglas Stone took his case of bistouries from a drawer, and placed it with a roll of bandage and a compress of lint in his pocket. He must waste no more time if he were to see Lady Sannox.

“I am ready,” said he, pulling on his overcoat. “Will you take a glass of wine before you go out into this cold air?”

His visitor shrank away, with a protesting hand upraised.

“You forget that I am a Mussulman, and a true follower of the Prophet,” said he. “But tell me what is the bottle of green glass which you have placed in your pocket?”

“It is chloroform.”

“Ah, that also is forbidden to us. It is a spirit, and we make no use of such things.”

“What! You would allow your wife to go through an operation without an anaesthetic?”

“Ah! she will feel nothing, poor soul. The deep sleep has already come on, which is the first working of the poison. And then I have given her of our Smyrna opium. Come, sir, for already an hour has passed.”

As they stepped out into the darkness, a sheet of rain was driven in upon their faces, and the hall lamp, which dangled from the arm of a marble Caryatid, went out with a fluff. Pim, the butler, pushed the heavy door to, straining hard with his shoulder against the wind, while the two men groped their way towards the yellow glare which showed where the cab was waiting. An instant later they were rattling upon their journey.

“Is it far?” asked Douglas Stone.

“Oh, no. We have a very little quiet place off the Euston Road.”

The surgeon pressed the spring of his repeater and listened to the little tings which told him the hour. It was a quarter past nine. He calculated the distances, and the short time which it would take him to perform so trivial an operation. He ought to reach Lady Sannox by ten o’clock. Through the fogged windows he saw the blurred gas lamps dancing past, with occasionally the broader glare of a shop front. The rain was pelting and rattling upon the leathern top of the carriage, and the wheels swashed as they rolled through puddle and mud. Opposite to him the white headgear of his companion gleamed faintly through the obscurity. The surgeon felt in his pockets and arranged his needles, his ligatures and his safety-pins, that no time might be wasted when they arrived. He chafed with impatience and drummed his foot upon the floor.

But the cab slowed down at last and pulled up. In an instant Douglas Stone was out, and the Smyrna merchant’s toe was at his very heel.

“You can wait,” said he to the driver.

It was a mean-looking house in a narrow and sordid street. The surgeon, who knew his London well, cast a swift glance into the shadows, but there was nothing distinctive – no shop, no movement, nothing but a double line of dull, flat-faced houses, a double stretch of wet flagstones which gleamed in the lamplight, and a double rush of water in the gutters which swirled and gurgled towards the sewer gratings. The door which faced them was blotched and discoloured, and a faint light in the fan pane above, it served to show the dust and the grime which covered it. Above in one of the bedroom windows, there was a dull yellow glimmer. The merchant knocked loudly, and, as he turned his dark face towards the light, Douglas Stone could see that it was contracted with anxiety. A bolt was drawn, and an elderly woman with a taper stood in the doorway, shielding the thin flame with her gnarled hand.

“Is all well?” gasped the merchant.

“She is as you left her, sir.”

“She has not spoken?”

“No, she is in a deep sleep.”

The merchant closed the door, and Douglas Stone walked down the narrow passage, glancing about him in some surprise as he did so. There was no oil-cloth, no mat, no hat-rack. Deep grey dust and heavy festoons of cobwebs met his eyes everywhere. Following the old woman up the winding stair, his firm footfall echoed harshly through the silent house. There was no carpet.

The bedroom was on the second landing. Douglas Stone followed the old nurse into it, with the merchant at his heels. Here, at least, there was furniture and to spare. The floor was littered and the corners piled with Turkish cabinets, inlaid tables, coats of chain mail, strange pipes, and grotesque weapons. A single small lamp stood upon a bracket on the wall. Douglas Stone took it down, and picking his way among the lumber, walked over to a couch in the corner, on which lay a woman dressed in the Turkish fashion, with yashmak and veil. The lower part of the face was exposed, and the surgeon saw a jagged cut which zigzagged along the border of the under lip.

“You will forgive the yashmak,” said the Turk. “You know our views about women in the East.”

But the surgeon was not thinking about the yashmak. This was no longer a woman to him. It was a case. He stooped and examined the wound carefully.

“There are no signs of irritation,” said he. “We might delay the operation until local symptoms develop.”

The husband wrung his hands in uncontrollable agitation.

“Oh! sir, sir,” he cried. “Do not trifle. You do not know. It is deadly. I know, and I give you my assurance that an operation is absolutely necessary. Only the knife can save her.”

“And yet I am inclined to wait,” said Douglas Stone.

“That is enough,” the Turk cried, angrily. “Every minute is of importance, and I cannot stand here and see my wife allowed to sink. It only remains for me to give you my thanks for having come, and to call in some other surgeon before it is too late.”

Douglas Stone hesitated. To refund that hundred pounds was no pleasant matter. But of course if he left the case he must return the money. And if the Turk were right and the woman died, his position before a coroner might be an embarrassing one.

“You have had personal experience of this poison?” he asked.

“I have.”

“And you assure me that an operation is needful.”

“I swear it by all that I hold sacred.”

“The disfigurement will be frightful.”

“I can understand that the mouth will not be a pretty one to kiss.”

Douglas Stone turned fiercely upon the man. The speech was a brutal one. But the Turk has his own fashion of talk and of thought, and there was no time for wrangling. Douglas Stone drew a bistoury from his case, opened it and felt the keen straight edge with his forefinger. Then he held the lamp closer to the bed. Two dark eyes were gazing up at him through the slit in the yashmak. They were all iris, and the pupil was hardly to be seen.

“You have given her a very heavy dose of opium.”

“Yes, she has had a good dose.”

He glanced again at the dark eyes which looked straight at his own. They were dull and lustreless, but, even as he gazed, a little shifting sparkle came into them, and the lips quivered.

“She is not absolutely unconscious,” said he.

“Would it not be well to use the knife while it will be painless?”

The same thought had crossed the surgeon’s mind. He grasped the wounded lip with his forceps, and with two swift cuts he took out a broad V-shaped piece. The woman sprang up on the couch with a dreadful gurgling scream. Her covering was torn from her face. It was a face that he knew. In spite of that protruding upper lip and that slobber of blood, it was a face that he knew. She kept on putting her hand up to the gap and screaming. Douglas Stone sat down at the foot of the couch with his knife and his forceps. The room was whirling round, and he had felt something go like a ripping seam behind his ear. A bystander would have said that his face was the more ghastly of the two. As in a dream, or as if he had been looking at something at the play, he was conscious that the Turk’s hair and beard lay upon the table, and that Lord Sannox was leaning against the wall with his hand to his side, laughing silently. The screams had died away now, and the dreadful head had dropped back again upon the pillow, but Douglas Stone still sat motionless, and Lord Sannox still chuckled quietly to himself.

“It was really very necessary for Marion, this operation,” said he, “not physically, but morally, you know, morally.”

Douglas Stone stooped for yards and began to play with the fringe of the coverlet. His knife tinkled down upon the ground, but he still held the forceps and something more.

“I had long intended to make a little example,” said Lord Sannox, suavely. “Your note of Wednesday miscarried, and I have it here in my pocket-book. I took some pains in carrying out my idea. The wound, by the way, was from nothing more dangerous than my signet ring.”

He glanced keenly at his silent companion, and cocked the small revolver which he held in his coat pocket. But Douglas Stone was still picking at the coverlet.

“You see you have kept your appointment after all,” said Lord Sannox.

And at that Douglas Stone began to laugh. He laughed long and loudly. But Lord Sannox did not laugh now. Something like fear sharpened and hardened his features. He walked from the room, and he walked on tiptoe. The old woman was waiting outside.

“Attend to your mistress when she awakes,” said Lord Sannox.

Then he went down to the street. The cab was at the door, and the driver raised his hand to his hat.

“John,” said Lord Sannox, “you will take the doctor home first. He will want leading downstairs, I think. Tell his butler that he has been taken ill at a case.”

“Very good, sir.”

“Then you can take Lady Sannox home.”

“And how about yourself, sir?”

“Oh, my address for the next few months will be Hotel di Roma, Venice. Just see that the letters are sent on. And tell Stevens to exhibit all the purple chrysanthemums next Monday, and to wire me the result.”

THE END

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That’s all for now, see you

Luka R.

The story was taken from: East of the Web

The Short Story of the Day

A Little of Chickamauga

by Ambrose Bierce

The history of that awful struggle is well known–I have not the intention to record it here, but only to relate some part of what I saw of it; my purpose not instruction, but entertainment.

I was an officer of the staff of a Federal brigade. Chickamauga was not my first battle by many, for although hardly more than a boy in years, I had served at the front from the beginning of the trouble, and had seen enough of war to give me a fair understanding of it. We knew well enough that there was to be a fight: the fact that we did not want one would have told us that, for Bragg always retired when we wanted to fight and fought when we most desired peace. We had maneuvered him out of Chattanooga, but had not maneuvered our entire army into it, and he fell back so sullenly that those of us who followed, keeping him actually in sight, were a good deal more concerned about effecting a junction with the rest of our army than to push the pursuit. By the time that Rosecrans had got his three scattered corps together we were a long way from Chattanooga, with our line of communication with it so exposed that Bragg turned to seize it. Chickamauga was a fight for possession of a road.

Back along this road raced Crittenden’s corps, with those of Thomas and McCook, which had not before traversed it. The whole army was moving by its left.

There was sharp fighting all along and all day, for the forest was so dense that the hostile lines came almost into contact before fighting was possible. One instance was particularly horrible. After some hours of close engagement my brigade, with foul pieces and exhausted cartridge boxes, was relieved and withdrawn to the road to protect several batteries of artillery–probably two dozen pieces–which commanded an open field in the rear of our line. Before our weary and virtually disarmed men had actually reached the guns the line in front gave way, fell back behind the guns and went on, the Lord knows whither. A moment later the field was gray with Confederates in pursuit. Then the guns opened fire with grape and canister and for perhaps five minutes–it seemed an hour–nothing could be heard but the infernal din of their discharge and nothing seen through the smoke but a great ascension of dust from the smitten soil. When all was over, and the dust cloud had lifted, the spectacle was too dreadful to describe. The Confederates were still there–all of them, it seemed–some almost under the muzzles of the guns. But not a man of all these brave fellows was on his feet, and so thickly were all covered with dust that they looked as if they had been reclothed in yellow.

“We bury our dead,” said a gunner, grimly, though doubtless all were afterward dug out, for some were partly alive.

To a “day of danger” succeeded a “night of waking.” The enemy, everywhere held back from the road, continued to stretch his line northward in the hope to overlap us and put himself between us and Chattanooga. We neither saw nor heard his movement, but any man with half a head would have known that he was making it, and we met by a parallel movement to our left. By morning we had edged along a good way and thrown up rude intrenchments at a little distance from the road, on the threatened side. The day was not very far advanced when we were attacked furiously all along the line, beginning at the left. When repulsed, the enemy came again and again–his persistence was dispiriting. He seemed to be using against us the law of probabilities: for so many efforts one would eventually succeed.

One did, and it was my luck to see it win. I had been sent by my chief, General Hazen, to order up some artillery ammunition and rode away to the right and rear in search of it. Finding an ordnance train I obtained from the officer in charge a few wagons loaded with what I wanted, but he seemed in doubt as to our occupancy of the region across which I proposed to guide them. Although assured that I had just traversed it, and that it lay immediately behind Wood’s division, he insisted on riding to the top of the ridge behind which his train lay and overlooking the ground. We did so, when to my astonishment I saw the entire country in front swarming with Confederates; the very earth seemed to be moving toward us! They came on in thousands, and so rapidly that we had barely time to turn tail and gallop down the hill and away, leaving them in possession of the train, many of the wagons being upset by frantic efforts to put them about. By what miracle that officer had sensed the situation I did not learn, for we parted company then and there and I never again saw him.

By a misunderstanding Wood’s division had been withdrawn from our line of battle just as the enemy was making an assault. Through the gap of a half a mile the Confederates charged without opposition, cutting our army clean in two. The right divisions were broken up and with General Rosecrans in their midst fled how they could across the country, eventually bringing up in Chattanooga, whence Rosecrans telegraphed to Washington the destruction of the rest of his army. The rest of his army was standing its ground.

A good deal of nonsense used to be talked about the heroism of General Garfield, who, caught in the rout of the right, nevertheless went back and joined the undefeated left under General Thomas. There was no great heroism in it; that is what every man should have done, including the commander of the army. We could hear Thomas’s guns going–those of us who had ears for them–and all that was needful was to make a sufficiently wide detour and then move toward the sound. I did so myself, and have never felt that it ought to make me President. Moreover, on my way I met General Negley, and my duties as topographical engineer having given me some knowledge of the lay of the land offered to pilot him back to glory. I am sorry to say my good offices were rejected a little uncivilly, which I charitably attributed to the general’s obvious absence of mind. His mind, I think, was in Nashville, behind a breastwork.

Unable to find my brigade, I reported to General Thomas, who directed me to remain with him. He had assumed command of all the forces still intact and was pretty closely beset. The battle was fierce and continuous, the enemy extending his lines farther and farther around our right, toward our line of retreat. We could not meet the extension otherwise than by “refusing” our right flank and letting him inclose us; which but for gallant Gordon Granger he would inevitably have done.

This was the way of it. Looking across the fields in our rear (rather longingly) I had the happy distinction of a discoverer. What I saw was the shimmer of sunlight on metal: lines of troops were coming in behind us! The distance was too great, the atmosphere too hazy to distinguish the color of their uniform, even with a glass. Reporting my momentous “find” I was directed by the general to go and see who they were. Galloping toward them until near enough to see that they were of our kidney I hastened back with the glad tidings and was sent again, to guide them to the general’s position.

It was General Granger with two strong brigades of the reserve, moving soldier-like toward the sound of heavy firing. Meeting him and his staff I directed him to Thomas, and unable to think of anything better to do decided to go visiting. I knew I had a brother in that gang–an officer of an Ohio battery. I soon found him near the head of a column, and as we moved forward we had a comfortable chat amongst such of the enemy’s bullets as had inconsiderately been fired too high. The incident was a trifle marred by one of them unhorsing another officer of the battery, whom we propped against a tree and left. A few moments later Granger’s force was put in on the right and the fighting was terrific!

By accident I now found Hazen’s brigade–or what remained of it–which had made a half-mile march to add itself to the unrouted at the memorable Snodgrass Hill. Hazen’s first remark to me was an inquiry about that artillery ammunition that he had sent me for.

It was needed badly enough, as were other kinds: for the last hour or two of that interminable day Granger’s were the only men that had enough ammunition to make a five minutes’ fight. Had the Confederates made one more general attack we should have had to meet them with the bayonet alone. I don’t know why they did not; probably they were short of ammunition. I know, though, that while the sun was taking its own time to set we lived through the agony of at least one death each, waiting for them to come on.

At last it grew too dark to fight. Then away to our left and rear some of Bragg’s people set up “the rebel yell.” It was taken up successively and passed round to our front, along our right and in behind us again, until it seemed almost to have got to the point whence it started. It was the ugliest sound that any mortal ever heard–even a mortal exhausted and unnerved by two days of hard fighting, without sleep, without rest, without food and without hope. There was, however, a space somewhere at the back of us across which that horrible yell did not prolong itself; and through that we finally retired in profound silence and dejection, unmolested.

To those of us who have survived the attacks of both Bragg and Time, and who keep in memory the dear dead comrades whom we left upon that fateful field, the place means much. May it mean something less to the younger men whose tents are now pitched where, with bended heads and clasped hands, God’s great angels stood invisible among the heroes in blue and the heroes in gray, sleeping their last sleep in the woods of Chickamauga.


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Luka R.

Source: American Literature